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Research: Nausea/Vomiting

August 2009
Efficacy of Acupuncture in Prevention of Postoperative Nausea in Cardiac Surgery Patients
The Annals of Thoracic Surgery,
Volume 88, Issue 2, pages 537-542.
BACKGROUND: Coronary artery bypass graft and cardiac valve surgeries are frequently performed in medical facilities in the United States, and postoperative nausea (PON) is a prevalent problem in this patient population. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a single preoperative acupuncture treatment in the prevention of PON in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft or cardiac valve surgery, or both. METHODS: Ninety participants presenting for coronary artery bypass graft or cardiac valve surgery, or both, were recruited for this study. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either one preoperative acupuncture and standard postoperative care (acupuncture group) or solely standard postoperative care (control group). Acupuncture was performed 0.5 to 3 hours before surgery. The PON incidence and severity on postoperative day (POD) 2 and POD 3 were measured with validated nausea tools. RESULTS: The acupuncture group had a significantly lower incidence of nausea compared with the control group (POD 2, odds ratio [OR], 0.38; p = 0.05; and POD 3, OR, 0.26; p = 0.01). The acupuncture group also had a significantly lower score of nausea severity than the control group (POD 2, OR, 0.29; p = 0.01; and POD 3, OR, 0.25; p = 0.01). No adverse effects due to acupuncture treatment were reported. Antiemetics, pain medications, and anesthetics administered intraoperatively did not differ between the two groups and did not influence study results. CONCLUSIONS: A single preoperative acupuncture treatment decreased incidence and severity of PON in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft or cardiac valve surgery, or both, and caused no adverse effects.

April 2009

Stimulation of the Wrist Acupuncture Point P6 for Preventing Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews; April 15, 2009.
BACKGROUND: Postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) are common complications following surgery and anaesthesia. Drugs to prevent PONV are only partially effective. An alternative approach is to stimulate the P6 acupoint on the wrist. This is an update of a Cochrane review first published in 2004. OBJECTIVES: To determine the efficacy and safety of P6 acupoint stimulation in preventing PONV. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched CENTRAL (The Cochrane Library, Issue 3, 2008), MEDLINE (January 1966 to September 2008), EMBASE (January 1988 to September 2008), ISI Web of Science (January 1965 to September 2008), the National Library of Medicine publication list of acupuncture studies, and reference lists of articles. SELECTION CRITERIA: All randomized trials of techniques that stimulated the P6 acupoint compared with sham treatment or drug therapy for the prevention of PONV. Interventions used in these trials included acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, transcutaneous nerve stimulation, laser stimulation, capsicum plaster, an acu-stimulation device, and acupressure in patients undergoing surgery. Primary outcomes were the risks of nausea and vomiting. Secondary outcomes were the need for rescue antiemetic therapy and adverse effects. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently assessed trial quality and extracted the data. We collected adverse effect information from the trials. We used a random-effects model and reported relative risk (RR) with associated 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). MAIN RESULTS: We included 40 trials involving 4858 participants; four trials reported adequate allocation concealment. Twelve trials did not report all outcomes. Compared with sham treatment P6 acupoint stimulation significantly reduced: nausea (RR 0.71, 95% CI 0.61 to 0.83); vomiting (RR 0.70, 95% CI 0.59 to 0.83), and the need for rescue antiemetics (RR 0.69, 95% CI 0.57 to 0.83). Heterogeneity among trials was moderate. There was no clear difference in the effectiveness of P6 acupoint stimulation for adults and children; or for invasive and noninvasive acupoint stimulation. There was no evidence of difference between P6 acupoint stimulation and antiemetic drugs in the risk of nausea (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.60 to 1.13), vomiting (RR 1.01, 95% CI 0.77 to 1.31), or the need for rescue antiemetics (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.59 to 1.13). The side effects associated with P6 acupoint stimulation were minor. There was no evidence of publication bias from contour-enhanced funnel plots. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: P6 acupoint stimulation prevented PONV. There was no reliable evidence for differences in risks of postoperative nausea or vomiting after P6 acupoint stimulation compared to antiemetic drugs.
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